May 2023
LGBTQ+ Pride

Begin with Love

“My prayer, my hope, my dream for us as a church is that we are, in the words of [former] Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning, a place where there are no outcasts.”

In this brief but powerful video in English with English and Spanish subtitles, Bishop Deon Johnson of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri speaks of the Christian call to affirm the dignity of all those whom we encounter at church and in our communities – not just to welcome people, but actually to invite them in, to sit with them, converse with them and learn who they are, to celebrate their worth even when we fear what they think or say, how they look or what they represent. “No matter who walks into our doors, we will love them with the love of Christ. And that makes a difference.” For in so doing, we widen the circle of those we know as beloved of God.

View with English subtitles

View with Spanish subtitles

The Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson became the 11th Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri on June 13, 2020. He is the first openly gay, first black, and first immigrant priest to lead the diocese. Johnson was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Barbados and came to the U.S. at age 14. He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and The General Theological Seminary in New York. Johnson is a creative and compassionate leader, often focusing his ministry on the underserved and marginalized in our community. He encourages us all to take our ministry outside our church walls and serve Jesus in our everyday lives. Johnson is married to Jovanny Osorio and has two children, Lilohalani and Ja'Lon.


This article is part of the May 2023 Vestry Papers issue on LGBTQ+ Pride